Post # 1
I am curious to see how many soon-to-be brides and grooms do any sort of premarital counseling or preparation. If you and your significant other have done or are currently doing premartial counseling, I was wondering if you might share a little bit about your experience: why you chose to do it, what resources you are using, where are you doing your counseling, and whether or not you have found it to be helpful. I’m newly engaged, and my fiancé and I just started our premarital counseling, and I would love to hear from about other brides and grooms about their experiences and advice.
Post # 3
Our officiant requires that we have 6 pre-marital counseling sessions with him prior to the wedding (religious). I think it’s a good idea – they bring up topics that you may not have thought to discuss or delve deeper in certain topics than maybe you’ve addressed together.
Post # 4
My fiance and I are doing premarital counseling through the pastor who will be marrying us. We’re both currently reading a workbook about marriage, which we’ll talk about together. Once we’ve gone through the whole book, we’ll meet several times with our pastor.
Post # 5
Our minister told us it’s completely up to us. He recommended a book called Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts which I ordered online. I’ve heard lots of great things about it.
Post # 6
Our officiant requires 7-8 hours of counseling with him. Because he’s no longer a pastor at a church, we’re doing the sessions in a study room at the library. So far we’ve completed the first two sessions. During the first we mostly just talked about why we want to get married and how we currently control finances since we live together. He then encouraged us to create a list of things that will be different after we’re married. In the second session we discussed the results of our Meyers-Briggs test. He again encouraged us to create a list of things that will be different.
In the next session we’ll discuss the difference between Love and Respect and what men need vs what women need to feel loved/respected. The following session we’ll play a version of the newlywed game. Where we’ll discuss the little quirks that come up when a couple marries and begins living together. After that we’ll start discussing the ceremony and things that are important to us.
FI and I get the impression that our officiant has really tailored his sessions to the typical couple that he marries — early-mid twenties, fresh out of college and not living together. FI and I are early 30’s, not so fresh from college and living together. The sessions have been useful, but probably would have been more eye opening if we younger.
Oh, and that list — We still haven’t created it. I did try one night, but realized that there’s nothing stopping us from making those changes today. . . even my name could be changed without marriage. So I made a list of why I’m marrying FI.
Post # 7
So glad we’re doing it!!!! It’s been great, we’ve always been pretty good at communicating but it’s just getting better, & things that I didn’t even realize were there have come up (past heart hurts) and FI & I have been able to deal with them so they don’t go into our marriage with us.
We are following the book Preparing For Marriage with our Pastor and have a weekly 45 min session. GREATNESS!
I’m sooooooooooooooooo happy we’ve done this and really think EVERYONE should. =)
Post # 8
We live in Oklahoma and at the first bridal show I went to, they had a vendor booth set up for OMI- the Oklahoma marriage initiative talking about a program called PREP. If we completed the free state-ran workshop, the marriage license would only cost us $5 instead of $55.
There were several different ways we could complete the workshop. Due to our work schedules, we choose to do the 8-hour one day course instead of it spread out over a month. We received 2 rather thick booklets that we worked through during the day. They even provided us with complimentary snacks and drinks. We both really enjoyed it and have continued to use our workbooks at home. The information was invaluable and I’m so glad we went. Although we communicate really well, it brought up a lot of topics/situations we’ve not yet encountered together. It also really helped us have a good set of tools to properly communicate our feelings the few times that we don’t get along. I would highly recommend it!
Post # 9
We worked through a book with our pastor, and met with him 6 times. We just finished ours a few weeks ago. For us, it was good to talk about things honestly with an objective 3rd party, but we didn’t feel like we talked about anything new or totally eye-opening. Honestly, everything in our book, we had already talked about. There were some things that we had to talk more deeply about, but there were no surprises.
All in all, I’m glad we did it, but if we hadn’t done it, I really don’t think it would have made a whole ton of difference. It was just nice to hear a 3rd party perspective on some issues.
Post # 10
Florida (or our county?) gives a small discount (like $5-$30?) on the marriage license if you do pre-marital counseling. But we looked into the “free sessions” and the topics they went over won’t really help us – like about budgeting and setting up a household – since we are already 38 & 42 years old and have established careers and have each bought cars and houses and mangaged our budgets and finances alone and even already together for a few years.
But we did want to do some “proactive/preventative” work in the communication department of establishing and sustaining an intimate long term committed relationship. So we asked around and got a reference to a psychologist who is working with us to develop effective communication patterns and to learn how to deepen our understanding of each other as we as of ourselves and ultimately of our love for and committment to one another. I don’t know if we will get the state/county discount, but our insurance covers mental health, so it is worth it…
We have been three times in the past few months and we LOVE it!
Post # 11
We are scheduled to do a class called “Before You Say I Do” I am looking forward to it. My fiance on the other hand is complaining that no one else he knows has done this before why should we. I told him because it’s a pre-requisite to get married w/the pastor and the church. I also have that book Preparing for marriage. Need to read it.
Post # 12
Wow! Thanks to everyone for all the detailed responses! I feel so encouraged to know that there are other brides and grooms out there who are doing premarital counseling to help prepare them for marriage.
Like many others, my fiancé and I are doing our counseling through our church, and we signed up voluntarily because we wanted to do the best we can to prepare for our marriage. We meet with several other couples as a group each week, which has been really helpful. It’s great to hear from others who are experiencing many of the same things we are, and I feel like we get that much more input and advice. We have some individual sessions with the pastor who leads the group, and of course, my fiancé and I have been doing a lot of work/exercises together.
Although we haven’t been uncovering and dealing with huge issues, we have been opening a lot of lines of communication, evaluating our attitudes and expectations for each other, and thinking through a lot of the things that wouldn’t necessarily have come up until we’re married (i.e. how we envision doing chores). It often seems like we’re dealing with small issues, but we’re confident that by discussing these things now, we’ll have a much smoother and more blissful transition into marriage.
Also, our group is using Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, as well as the accompanying workbooks for men and women. I definitely recommend them! The books really challenge and encourage you as a couple. Even if you can’t do any formal premarital counseling, I’d suggest going through the books with your fiancé.
Post # 13
My fiance and I are doing four sessions through his church. I think it is a great idea for anyone, including non- religious people. It is just a way to get in practice of talking about things in ways you haven’t before. We realized this when we looked at the set of topics that were given to us that we would be going over. We’vre already talked about most of them, but it is really good to know that down the line you have already talked about your expectatations and in front of someone else no less, which i find more intimidating than talking about just to my SO.
Post # 14
@yearns4god I believe that teaching series is by Joe Mcgee, we have it!… let me know if so! He is by FAR the best marriage/family teacher EVER!!!!!!!! I watch his parenting 101 every few months and still just get so encouraged, armed and ready to do what I need!
Post # 15
We are in the process of scheduling our counseling now. Our pastor requires us to listen to some CDs on marriage first and to read two books “Liberated by Submission” and “Maximized Manhood”. They also ask that you date for at least a year before counseling and to wait on proposing until after counseling is completed. Once we complete the prerequisites we can schedule our appointments. The sessions are for an hour once a week for 4-8 weeks, depending upon the couple. For instance, if either partner has been divorced, you’d have an extra session on that. Or if there are kids involved, you’d have a session on blended families…etc etc. Since we have no kids, no prior marriages, we expect to complete counseling in about 4-6 weeks.
Post # 16
My fiancé and I are going to do premarital counseling, but we haven’t started yet. The pastor doing our wedding is my dad, so we are going to go to a different minister. We have currently been working through the book “The 5 Love Languages.” It is very helpful for us in understanding each other (and ourselves!); we have also found that it gives us a common vocabulary when we’re trying to talk through issues. For example, my fiancé can say that he’s having a hard time because he needs more “quality time” (one of the love languages discussed in the book). I understand more of what he means because of what we read in the book and the discussions that stemmed from that. I highly recommend this book to other couples!